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Schoen plans to run for Sieben's state senate seat

State Rep. Dan Schoen wants to move from the House to the Senate.

Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, on Wednesday announced his bid to replace outgoing Sen. Katie Sieben of Cottage Grove in Senate District 54 in the 2016 election.

“The Senate is certainly a different opportunity,” Schoen said in an interview. “You will get to work on the some of the same things and I’ll get to represent more people that I care about.”

Sieben, also a Democrat and the assistant Senate majority leader, said Tuesday she will not seek re-election this fall. She will have served 14 years in the Legislature.

Schoen called Sieben a mentor and friend who “has a passion for helping people and has made a positive impact on thousands of people’s lives.”

Schoen, 41, said serving in the Senate is attractive in part because with half the number of members as the House, there is more opportunity to have influence.

“That is true, like it or not,” he said. “When you’re in the Senate your vote is almost like two.”

Schoen, a father of two, is in his second two-year House term. A Cottage Grove police officer, Schoen has taken visible positions on gun laws and law enforcement-related laws. He said he would continue to focus on those issues in the Senate.

Schoen saw passage of a law prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing firearms and another measure making heroin overdose medication more accessible for first responders. He was a vocal proponent of legalizing medical marijuana.

In July 2015, Schoen took a legislative leave of absence from the Cottage Grove Police Department. During the leave he also served as a paid security consultant to LeafLine Labs, the state-approved medical marijuana manufacturer in Cottage Grove. Schoen returned to policing last month.

Schoen’s bid for the Senate seat would create an open race for the House District 54A seat.

The race to replace Sieben could draw a number of candidates.

“It’s clearly a competitive race,” Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, said after Sieben’s announcement. “Katie’s a doggone good legislator and she does a good job, (she’s) got a great family name, but I would imagine it will be a very competitive process for a nominee on both sides of the aisle.”

McNamara said he is not running for Senate, preferring to try to hold his District 54B seat in the House, where he is a committee chairman.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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